DAYDREAMER: Roya Carreras and Holly Curran on a Work In Progress

Words and Rehearsal Image by Roya Carreras and Holly Curran 

Next week, Holly Curran performs a solo excerpt from Roya CarrerasDAYDREAMER at the 7th Annual Lake Tahoe Dance Festival. Alongside new work from Constantine Baecher, Katherine Duke, and Traci Finch, as well as the revival of Agnes DeMille’s The Other (performed by Abbi Stafford and Stephen Hanna) and Jacopo Godani’s Al Di La (performed by Daphne Ferberger and Ulysses Zangs of Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company), including this world premiere snippet of Carrera’s evening length work is a bit of curatorial brilliance from artistic director Christin Hanna. We caught up with Carreras as she was heading into the creative process with Curran to talk about the impetus for DAYDREAMER and her approach to creating movement.

On the Starting Point

Until a recent conversation with a friend, I didn’t realize how much I daydream. Talking with him helped me unpack how much I use my mind to escape reality. I remembered that when I was fifteen and traveling Europe by train with my mom, she said to me: “Do you know how long you have been looking out that window? (I didn’t.) Four hours. Be careful not to daydream your life away.” 

My mom is ill and it has been a really hard two years. In order to honor her, I have been using a lot of these moments as a starting point to write my own manifesto through dance, to keep our relationship alive. I am creating these female characters that play on reality and all of the internalized emotions packed away. Everything is neat on the surface and daydreaming is a way to escape reality.

On Generating Material

I create with intuitive movement, textural games, improvisation. For each work there is a toolbox of imagery and very tight constructs I use to approach movement: ideas of physical temperature, how we build it and how it manifests through movement. I almost feel like a scientist, mover, writer, and painter all in one. 

I like to tailor the movement in real time, again like a painter, finding all possibilities and range in how your hand can move, the elbow, ways to feel dynamic in space with your body. I will sketch things out with writing and character analysis, or poetry that ignites movement, and then use that in studio to create movement specifically for the person I am working with in the studio. It is so much fun that way, then the artists can really dive in as actors or experiencers.

I don’t have a sense of Holly’s particular character yet, just some Neruda writings that I am interested in her living in. Maybe we will sit over a glass of wine and ask her about daydreaming…

On Working with Music

I think the music is going Michael Nyman, a combo between classical and ambient. There is techno beat sound that is very daydreamy that I think will work for Holly. But for me, music always comes later. I generally set work using all different kinds of music, so I can marry tempo with music later in the game. I find it creates more texture and nuance and keep the emotions and integrity of a work alive.

Holly Curran On Working with Carreras 

The process of creating with Roya pushes me to work in a hyper specific mode. Slight differences in the way a finger makes a circle or a tilt of the head can change the intention of the piece completely. I love this kind of detail-based work. As a dancer it challenges me to go beyond just “doing the move” as I am always needing to be engaged with the choreography and consciously making choices. 

Lake Tahoe Dance Festival runs 7/25-7/27. Click here for more info and tickets.

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